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Panayiotis Doukanaris | Painting Beyond the Image

18 October - 22 November 2019 Curator: Maria Stathi Private View: 18 October 2019
Panayiotis Doukanaris, 'Whispering Tomorrow’s Thoughts', 2019, Dethreaded canvas, oil on canvas, 160 x 121 cm

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“Painting Beyond the Image” is Panayiotis Doukanaris’ first solo exhibition. The artist collaborated with Art Seen for the first time in the group exhibition “Painting Notes” (May 2018). A little more than a year later, the current exhibition presents the artist’s new series of works, all of them creations and the result of an invitation by/commission of Art Seen’s curator and founder Maria Stathi.

The exhibition “Painting Beyond the Image” comments, investigates and expands the limits of what we consider today as ‘(the art of) painting’.

Workaholic, restless, obsessive with his work; the process of creation is for Doukanaris laborious, mentally and physically.

Tirelessly, compulsively, persistently, his body hurting more often than not, suffering; for the last three years the artist has been working on the method he uses in this new series of works.

Fingers touching, ‘working’ the canvas. Neck and torso remain strained, tensed, submitted to the canvas, the paint, the needle, the scalpel knife. ‘Eyes fixed on a mark’, a point, a stitch that is to change (a new stich /re-weaved /inter-weaved /twined /inter-twined /interlaced, a brushstroke, an ‘incision’). And the mind, unfailingly unceasingly focused, dedicated to manual labour and creative thinking.

Endless hours, every day, for many days, many months, until the dipole: Pushing forward the body, hands, fingers and fingertips exerting the need for creation and, Attracting the mind, attracting thoughts, attention (focusing, focusing on movement, on action), reaches equilibrium. Pushing forward and Focusing on, both have the same direction: the ongoing work of art which acts as a magnet for the artist for as long as this is created by him/he is created by it. [An irresponsibly responsible act; and the sacrifice of the other ‘others’, 2018-2019]

The artist’s body acquires memory, muscle memory. During the creative process, body, hands, fingers move with confidence, autonomously, automatically, decisively, instinctively, obsessively focused, dedicated to the process, taking a risk ... since they know that there is no room for error. The course of the work is irreversible. The knife cuts through, marking the (work’s) way. One wrong move traumatizes the work, scars it for life. The material - the canvas, sensitive by nature, accepts its fate without resisting. [Whispering tomorrow’s thoughts, 2019] There is violence in the creative process. Violence and tension when the brush ‘strikes’ and paint permeates the canvas, while the brush becomes worn out, becomes exhausted, and spent. Controlled violence when fingertips unravel the threads of the canvas, so as to make the weaving less dense, stripping the canvas, and sometimes ‘recycling’ the threads, reworking them in different shapes and forms, to use them in the same or in a different artwork. There are times when the artist ‘dresses’ the canvas with more threads (as well as with colour paint), thus reweaving its surface. Sometimes the canvas acquires an intricate ‘graft’ that adjusts and becomes attuned to its new environment, thus becoming part of the body of the work. [671 Borrowed Lines, 2018; 436 Borrowed Lines, 2018]

The method of the artist is remarkably methodical. However, this does not mean that the artist follows a given route, a prescribed course of action in order to ‘complete’ his creation. He is not being strategic in his moves, and there is no discernible goal. The artist does not act on a plan. The act of creation is not premeditated, it is not calculated and, interventions of surgical ‘precision’, the incisions made, are not meant to reach (and become) a desirable result. On the contrary, the artist’s fingertips move around in an exploratory ‘mood’, learning and assimilating the canvas’ terrain (a coloured or colourless terrain). In this sense, the artwork’s creative process is spontaneous, unpredictable and, above all, intuitive. [Leap into the abyss, 2018]

The viewer may interpret the work as the artist’s ‘final act’. As expected, from there onward, the work’s meaning is ‘weaved’ by the viewer. In this way, it is the final act of a long-duration performance that gradually unfolds and unravels, like the numerous threads that make up, that weave the artworks. From the artist’s imagination, to the artist’s studio as sketches, in the gallery as art products, the artist’s end product, and an idea in shape. ‘Beyond the image’, the art of painting as an expressive tool, exists in spaces in between, in spaces that communicate, and in this way are transparent, and interconnected.

‘I have created a vocabulary’, says the artist. He has weaved a language on canvas. He has arranged his thoughts, by hue, by shape (some artworks have geometrical shapes, others are shapeless, amorphous). The artworks that are hanging on the walls may also be seen as sculptural works; this because they are ‘agile’ and ‘malleable, ‘receptive’ as they react easily to external stimuli, such as air and light (some of them are transparent). This living language is constantly enriched, developing, changing.

Panayiotis Doukanaris calls his artworks ‘diary’. A diary where the artist’s present is recorded, a diary that is then read by the viewer when this gets ‘published’, when it ‘goes public’ in the context of the current exhibition. And so the exhibition “Painting Beyond the Image: Transparency and the Space in Between” may be seen as an opportunity, or as an invitation, or even as a challenge (or as all the above), for the viewer to learn the language of the artist’s ‘diary’.

Maria Hadjiathanasiou

Panayiotis Doukanaris (1991, Nicosia, Cyprus) lives and works in Thessaloniki, Greece and in Larnaca, Cyprus. This year he will return permanently in Cyprus. He studied Fine and Applied Arts at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and in 2016 he received his M.A in Fine Arts from Birmingham City University, UK. In 2016-19, he worked as an assistant professor at the Department of Visual and Applied Arts in Fine Arts in Thessaloniki. Currently he is a PhD candidate at the Department of Fine Art at the Cyprus University of Technology (TEPAK).

Selected group exhibitions include: ‘UK Young Artist’, Biennial of Young Artist from Europe and the Mediteranean (Bjcem), Nottingham, UK (2019); ‘Join the Dots’, Salone degli Incanti, Trieste, Italy (2018); ‘Painting Notes’, Art Seen, Nicosia (2018); ‘I Like Us’, Institut Francais de Thes, Thessaloniki, Greece (2017); Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki (2017); Teloglion Foundation of Art, Thessaloniki, Greece (2017); 7th Biennale of Fine Art Schools Athens, Theoharaki Foundation, Athens (2014); ‘Cypriot Young Creators’, Teloglion Foundation of Art, Thessaloniki (2014).